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Fuji Morofuji, winner of Japan Flamenco Contest 2019

The first prize of the Japan Flamenco Contest 2019 was awarded to bailaora Fumi Morofuji, who will perform at Tablao Los Gallos, de Sevilla. The contest commemorates the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Komatsubara Spanish Ballet Company and Dance Academy.

Photo: Tokyo Cervantes Institute

There is no doubt that Japan is flamenco’s second home. It’s the second country with the most flamenco academies in the world, after Spain, and ahead of Mexico. This is in great part due to the bailaora Yoko Komatsubara, who founded the Spanish Dance Academy in Tokyo and in 1969 created the Spanish Ballet Company Yoko Komatsubara, a company which has featured some of the best bailaores of this noble art, such as Israel Galván, Joaquín Cortés, Antonio Canales and Antonio Alonso.

In 2019 it’s the 50th anniversary of the of the foundation of Komatsubara’s Spanish Ballet Company and Dance Academy. To celebrate this milestone, the Cervantes Institute and Yoko Komatsubara herself organized the second edition of the Japan Flamenco Contest . This contest was created by Yoko in 2018 to take flamenco to all kinds of public.  «Flamenco is ageless. Young and old people can enjoy this art together», explained this bailaora.

Fumi Morofuji, winner of Japan Flamenco Contest 2019

Tokyo, Osaka and Sendai were the cities selected to host this event, which had over thirty-five contestants. The final round featured seventeen Japanese bailaores, three men and fourteen women, and the prize was awarded to Fumi Morofuji. The jury — made up of Spanish and Japanese experts — included the renowned artist’s agent Maite Pulpón.

Fumi Morofuji, as winner of this contest, will travel to Spain to perform in the famous tablao Los Gallos in Seville, where Yoko Komatsubara herself also performed in the 1970s.

About Yoko Komatsubara

Komatsubara was born in a family who loved Japanese traditional music. However, she was hooked on flamenco thanks to a performance by Pilar López, eventually travelling to Spain in the 1970s to become a bailaora, learning from masters such as Victoria Eugenia, Matilde Coral, Paco Fernández, Pedro Azorín and Enrique el Cojo.

During her extensive career, she has been awarded countless of prizes and accolades, such as the el Premio de Oro del Flamenco de Córdoba (1977), the Encomienda de la Real Orden de Isabel la Católica (2009) and Japan’s Rising Sun Order of Cultural Merit (2004).

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